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My thoughts, notes and finds on Eastern European Anthropology & Archaeology.

Last Build Date: Tue, 07 Oct 2014 05:20:43 +0000


Uncivilized People Talking about Gypsies

Fri, 30 Jun 2006 23:58:00 +0000

My jaws dropped reading through some of these comments. The following was taken from

Public Authorities

The worst is not the polls,[4] which demonstrate that anti-Gypsyism[5] is wide-spread in Europe and that Roma are the most hated ethnic group, but rather the fact that public hate speech on any level goes without criticism or punishment.Declarations suggesting burning the Roma, presenting Roma as animals or dangerous for the health of the majority, and linking them with the most heinous crimes are not espoused by lunatics, but also by public personalities. Such declaration make blatant human rights violations of Roma seem acceptable in the eyes of the mainstream public.

A few examples:

Residents are ready to start setting the gypsies' houses on fire, and I want to head this process. (Russian municipal legislator Sergei Krivnyuk, for Volgainform, November 17, 2004.)

Nomads, they are animals. (Councilman Pierpaolo Fanton on TV news is Treviso, Italy, in 2005. He went on to suggest a vaccine for Roma children who, with their saliva and spit, might “infect” Italian children attending the same schools.)

Roma steal children and then sell them, sometimes in parts. (Pietro Zocconali, President of the National Association of Sociologists of Italy, February 2005, according to the Italian press.)


Since the early 1990s, similar talk was deployed by politicians aiming to boost their electoral support:

If we don't deal with them now, they will deal with us in time. (Prime Minister Vladimir Meciar of Slovakia, in 1993. He also described Roma as “mentally handicapped” and “breeding machines”.)

[I will] ...isolate the Roma criminals in special colonies… [in order to] …stop the transformation of Romania in a Gypsy camp. (A 1997 election promise from Romanian senator Corneliu Vadim Tudor.)

At the present time, I believe that the Roma of Zámoly have no place among human beings. Just as in the animal world, parasites must be expelled. (Dezső Csete, mayor of Csór, Hungary, on April 27, 2000.) [Apparently many people didn't learn their lesson after the Holocaust. I think this guy must have admired Hitler.]

If you don’t want Gypsies, Moroccans and delinquents in your house, be the master of your own home in a livable city and vote Lega Nord. (A 2002 electoral message of Italian political leader Umberto Bosi.)

None of these politicians were fined, sued or prosecuted for their statements. I argue that the general acceptance and tolerance of such statements is one reason that anti-Gypsyism and ethnically motivated violence against Roma are increasing in Europe.


Fri, 30 Jun 2006 22:54:00 +0000

The life of a 'Gypsy' IVANOV, THE JERUSALEM POSTJun. 27, 2006I am what many people call a "Gypsy." I prefer the term "Roma." There are more than 10 million of us across Europe. The vast majority of us live in Third World conditions - denied access to adequate housing, health care, and education.I was born in a provincial town in Bulgaria in the late 1960s, when, like the reacst of Eastern Europe, the country was under Communist rule. The Party recognized no ethnic minorities - we were all, formally, equal. Indeed, we were so equal that the government gave many of us new, Bulgarian names. One day, when I was a teenager named Husni, my name became Ivan.But we were not equal. Roma lived in segregated ghettos. We were second-class citizens.One of my clearest early childhood memories is of my father telling my younger sister and me, "Education is the key to success." He said, "If you want to be accepted as equals by Gadje [non-Roma], you must be better educated than they are. This is not easy. But if you succeed, this will change not only your life but also the lives of many of your people."Education is the only way out of the ghetto for many Roma. But in societies like Bulgaria, where prejudice is rampant, Roma have to fight for equal schooling.Most of the children I grew up with received an inferior education that did not train them for university or skilled jobs. They are either unemployed or working as unskilled laborers in Bulgaria or in the black market abroad. By contrast, in large part because of my father, I managed to complete high school, then medical school, and become a general practitioner.By the early 1990's, Bulgaria had changed. The transition to democracy promised freedom and prosperity to all who had suffered in communism's stranglehold. Yet the Roma found themselves losers of the democratic transformation. Their situation, always tenuous, dramatically worsened. Their poor schooling left them ill equipped for the new economy. The communist dogma was shattered, but so was the pretense that we were all equals in a homogenous society. The government allowed employment discrimination to go unchecked, leaving the majority of Roma without jobs, and communities were plunged deeper into poverty.I OBTAINED a law degree to help advocate for members of my community. Today, I live and work in Brussels, where I lead an organization that advises the European Union and national governments on Roma-related policies. I support my family and have achieved fulfillment in my career. But I am an exception.It is because of the importance of education in making me an exception that I am so deeply troubled by a recent decision of the European Court of Human Rights.The case was brought by 18 Roma children from the city of Ostrava in the Czech Republic who had been assigned to special remedial schools for the "mentally deficient." In Central and Eastern Europe, Roma are often unfairly placed in these special schools, which provide sub-par education that all but guarantees a life of poverty and manual labor.I served as one of the lawyers for the children. The evidence showed that more than half of the Roma children in Ostrava were placed in special schools, and that more than half of the population of special schools was Roma. All told, Roma children in Ostrava are more than 27 times more likely than non-Roma to be placed in such schools.This is not a unique situation. Far from it. The same disproportionate patterns of school assignment exist throughout much of Central and Eastern Europe. As a United Nations expert body has declared, this is racial segregation, plain and simple.But the Court was unmoved. Its judgment recognized that the claimants raised "a number of serious arguments," and that the education system in Ostrava perpetuated racial segregation. But the Court ruled that, absent a showing of actual racial bias in the minds of testers and administrators - virtually impossible to prove - the perva[...]

using eBay to help

Fri, 23 Jun 2006 05:52:00 +0000

Sell or Buy on eBay for Mercy Corps
June 22, 2006

Turn treasures into donations by selling or buying items through Mercy Corps' listing on eBay's Giving Works program, run by MissionFish. Proceeds will support Mercy Corps' Emergency Response Fund, and help survivors of the Indonesia Earthquake, Hurricane Katrina, the Pakistan Earthquake and other disasters.

Give as little as 10% or as much as 100% from anything you sell ($10 minimum donation required). When you give 100%, eBay donates your insertion and final value fees to Mercy Corps too.

A special icon sets your eBay Giving Works item apart on eBay as an authentic charity item, and the giving bar tells buyers how much you're donating.

Every donation made from an eBay Giving Works listing is completely tax deductible. MissionFish collects your donation, delivers it to Mercy Corps and provides you with a tax receipt.

It's easy:
1. Sign into your eBay account and and click "sell" to list an item, just like normal.

2. Choose to donate. On the "Pictures & Details" area, choose "Donate a percentage of sale" to launch the eBay Giving Works feature.

3. Select Mercy Corps and donation percentage. Find Mercy Corps in the MissionFish directory. If you're a new eBay Giving Works user, you'll have to complete a one-time registration with MissionFish before you finish. Then choose how much of your final sale price (10%-100%) you would like to donate.

4. Finish your listing. Review your listing details and submit it as usual.

Or, browse hundreds of items for sale that support Mercy Corps.

If you're not an eBay member, you can create an account. It's FREE and easy!

The Plight of the Gypsies

Thu, 22 Jun 2006 05:27:00 +0000

from the radio program Voice of America: On the Line
originally broadcast on March, 15, 2000

Host: Paul Polansky, what possible remedies do you see? This is a problem on which you have worked for so many years and written so much about. There are countries that have attempted programs of assimilation and pubic housing -- Spain is a notable example -- that have not worked that well.

Polansky: You know, you find racism also in Spain. I have lived in Spain for many years and I know that there are villages in Spain where the mayor and the Guardia Civil have not allowed any Gypsies to rent or buy a home. And in Great Britain, they are not processing legally the political asylum cases from Gypsies from Eastern Europe. They are sending them back as quickly as they can. I have spoken to many Rom who, the minute they got off the airplane in London and requested political asylum, the wife and children are taken to a bed and breakfast, the father was put into jail. A few weeks later a social worker would come by and say that your wife and children have been molested by skinheads. Don't you think you should sign on the dotted line voluntarily to go back to the Czech Republic?

To read the full transcript CLICK HERE.

The Melungeons

Tue, 20 Jun 2006 23:42:00 +0000

Last night I was looking through profiles of famous Gypsies and a thought popped into my head: Is there a connection between the Gypsies and the Melungeons of North America?

Turns out there is!

Months ago I have started to research the Melungeons, certain that I had Melungeon background (being "multi-racial" or mixed), and my research proved that I am more than likely on the right path.

Here are some VERY interesting sites about the Melungeon people:

Melungeon Heritage Association

Atlanta Melungeon Project

For Melungeons scroll down towrds the end

Melungeon AOL page

Dot Com

The Gypsies

Tue, 20 Jun 2006 06:23:00 +0000

Noteworthy Articles on the Net:"Europe's Enduring Disgrace" Gypsies of Evosmos, Greece : "During the night children run the risk of losing an ear, finger or nose in their sleep to large rats. A year ago, the mayor of Evosmos gave the Gypsies garbage bins, but he did not provide garbage trucks to empty them." "Anti-Gypsy Fervor Sweeps East Europe"For the full list of articles go HERE.*********************************************************The Romani people seem to embrace dark complexions more thanAfrican-Americans in the United States. With many African-American celebritiestoday lightening their skin, using blue contact lenses,dying their hair blonde or wearing blonde weaves, and evenusing plastic surgery for a more Caucasian look (ex. LilKim) and advertisements for skin bleach creams/gels in Black magazines (very much like in Japan and India.)"Roma in Russia also speak of blackness as among thecriteria of a "true Gypsy." While they may emphasize that"we also have people with green eyes or pale skin," sometease such Roma, calling them Gazhe (non­Roma).9 Theblackness category is learned ­­ and was overtly taught in aRomani Sunday­school for children of urban, intellectual,and performing Roma in Moscow. The children had beenassigned to draw "a Gypsy girl." At the end of the lesson,the teacher picked up two sample pictures, one of a girlwith a light face, the other dark, and asked the childrenwhich was better, then explaining: "Of course the dark one[is better]. Again why? Because here we have a clear image..." The Romani children, themselves of varying complexions,did not all automatically draw dark­faced Gypsy girls. Notethat, in this case, darkness was not necessarily negative;as I hope will be clear, there is room for ambivalence,especially among Roma."more: "We are blacks," he also told me, stressing that "we aretreated like second class here, like your Blacks inAmerica." This phrasing may be considered the "importation"of a "foreign" category, but this man's way of describinghis experience does not negate its reality to him.Younger Roma display a fascination with the music and dressof American "Blacks" on MTV that rivals their fascinationwith Russians. Those of wealthier, merchant Lovari 11families, especially, trace their identification withAmerican Blacks not in terms of defeat or second­classness,as did the Keldelari metalworker, but in terms of an"attitude" that they say they can detect in expressions andmovements of American musicians that renders them "like us."They also equate blackness with America (as in, "the statueof liberty ­­ isn't that where Michael Jackson dances in thevideo?") and see America as "better then Russia." Thus theyreverse the valence of blackness and shift their own placein racial hierarchies: Roma, if more like American blacks,and thus more like Americans, must be better than Russians.[from]Pictures taken by David Dare Parker: These people live in poverty away from society because they are misunderstood and because of stereotypes. Some countries still force them to live in ghettos complete with barbedwire fence, just like during the Holocaust! What did these people do to deserve this? Nothing.FREE THE GYPSIES![...]

Rude Advice for Future Archaeologists

Mon, 19 Jun 2006 04:28:00 +0000

Yesterday I bought the current July/August 2006 issue of Archaeology Magazine and read through the Letters (to the editor) section and was struck by some of the letters. The readers were unhappy about an article in the previous magazine written by Brian Fagan. So I went to the magazine website to read the article ("So You Want To Be An Archaeologist? "). No wonder the readers were mad! I'm pretty stunned too! Not by his remarks about how Archaeology is dying out... but how rude and unmotivating and pompous he sounded. Fagan did not seem to take into consideration that the people reading his article probably dream of being archaeologist (since childhood) and work very hard at it (why else would you be reading the magazine?)

Here are some (what I found to be) harsh words of advice from the article:

"Archaeology is in a crisis that threatens its very existence. The world's archive of archaeological sites is shrinking rapidly both on land and underwater. Support for academic archaeology is at best level, rather than increasing. One thing is certain: your career will be very different from mine."

"You may never have a job with a pension or security of employment, which adds new challenges to the already difficult path that lies ahead, but you should have a fascinating life, full of rich challenges. "

He could have been a little more motivating/encouraging. It would have been more cinsiderate to the readers to be more sympathetic that sounding so dramatic and threatening (THIS IS THE END OF ARCHAEOLOGY AS WE KNOW IT!) What I got from the article was, "FORGET ABOUT ARCHAEOLOGY! YOU WILL FAIL! YOU WON'T FIND A JOB! STOP WASTING YOUR TIME!" (I guess it's a good thing I'm leaning more towards Anthropology!)

Read the full article for all his wonderful words of wisdom. Thanks Fagan...

On a lighter note, I enjoyed Tom Gidwitz's article "Uncovering Ancient Thailand" in the current issue (if you want something more uplifting and promising after Fagan's depressing read.)

The Myth of Siberia

Mon, 19 Jun 2006 00:57:00 +0000

I was browsing through Amazon and I came acoss this book that I now desperately want called Between Heaven and Hell : The Myth of Siberia in Russian Culture by Galya Diment & Yuri Slezkine. But it costs $80! I looked on ebay and abebooks but even then it was too pricey!

Book Description from

Siberia has no history of independent political existence, no claim to a
separate ethnic identity, and no clear borders. Yet, it could be said that the
elusive country 'behind the Urals' is the most real and the most durable part of
the Russian landscape. For centuries, Siberia has been represented as Russia's
alter ego,as the heavenly or infernal antithesis to the perceived complexity or
shallowness of Russian life. It has been both the frightening heart of darkness
and a fabulous land of plenty; the 'House of the Dead' and the realm of utter
freedom; a frozen wasteland and a colourful frontier; a dumping ground for
Russia's rejects and the last refuge of its lost innocence. The contributors to
Between Heaven and Hell examine the origin, nature, and implications of these
images from historical, literary, geographical, anthropological, and linguistic
perspectives. They create a striking, fascinating picture of this enormous and
mysterious land.


Sun, 18 Jun 2006 22:33:00 +0000

I am interested in all fields of anthropology (especially archaeology and cultural anthropology.) I am specifically interested in the cultural history of Eastern Europe, although this region is a bit sketchy I include Russia and Eurasia in my interests. I can't exaplain my fascination with the Gypsies, Russian history, Russian Mafiya, etc. But I just know that I am curious. I am trying to teach myself Russian using books, and so far I can read the language OK, even if I don't understand most of the words. But it's a start.

Anyone interested in Anthropology (especially students) should join for networking and discussions.